Emancipation and History

The Return of Social Theory


Assessing critical theory today, José Maurício Domingues’ Emancipation and History focuses on the connection between history and emancipation, centering on the trends that structure modernity and may lead us beyond it. Classical and contemporary sociology and social theory are mobilized to recover a robust theory capable of going beyond recurrent empirical, and therefore weaker, perspectives in emancipatory thought. Collective subjectivity and social creativity, history and sociology, analytical concepts and trend-concepts, social existential questions, the role of equal freedom and of immanent critique, secularization, capitalism, the modern state, 'populism', the family and the meaning of citizenship, Marx, Weber, Bhaskar, Habermas, Laclau, Sousa Santos and Negri are topics and authors that stand out in the book.
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Biographical Note

José Maurício Domingues, PhD in sociology (LSE), professor at IESP-UERJ, Brazil, author of Global Modernity, Development, and Global Civilization (Routledge, 2012), Latin America and Contemporary Modernity (Routledge, 2018), Modernity Reconstructed (University of Wales Press, 2006), Social Creativity, Collective Subjectivity and Contemporary Modernity (Macmillan/Saint Martin's Press, 2000) and Sociological Theory and Collective Subjectivity (MacMillan/Saint Martin's Press, 1995).

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1 – Vicissitudes and possibilities of critical theory today Defining critical theory Contemporary modernity Renewing critique Chapter 2 – Global modernity: levels of analysis and conceptual strategies Introduction Levels of analysis Descriptions Middle-range analytical concepts General analytical concepts A trend-concept: secularization Conclusion Chapter 3 – Existential social questions, developmental trends and modernity The problem Existential social questions Existential questions, developmental trends and modernizing moves Final words Chapter 4 – History, sociology and modernity Introduction Historical sociology and sociological theory Theory and mechanisms Conclusion Chapter 5 – Realism, trend-concepts and the modern state Introduction Beyond empiricism (and critical realism) The modern state and modern society Collective subjectivity, mechanisms, modernization Final words Chapter 6 – Family, modernization and sociological theory Two intertwined themes Globalization and modernization The family, the “dimensions” of social life and the “existential questions” Conclusion Chapter 7 – The basic forms of social interaction Introduction Principles of organization, mechanisms of coordination Principles of antagonism, mechanisms of opposition Coordination, antagonism Interactive inclinations Bases of justification Conclusion Chapter 8 – The imaginary and politics in modernity: the trajectory of Peronism Introduction Theoretical background Historical Peronism The Argentina of Kirchner and Fernández de Kirchner The imaginary and politics in modernity Chapter 9 – Critical social theory and developmental trends, emancipation and late communism Introduction Capitalism, accumulation and communism Contemporary alternatives Tasks of critical theory – or late twentieth century communism References Index


Researches and Graduate Students in the Social Sciences; social activists